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An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N. (Part Four)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/01/22


An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N. She discusses: Societies and women’s dress; fear for women Millennials; the Humanist party; policies and platform recommendations of the party; normalization of humanism and ordinary humanists; demonization of the non-believer population in America in general; humanism and politics; non-religious invocations; emotionally potent lies; risk of social suicide; and social ostracism.

Keywords: HAPI, humanism, Marissa Torres Langseth, PATAS, Philippines.

An Interview with Marissa Torres Langseth, B.S.N., M.S.N.: Founder, PATAS; Founder, HAPI (Part Four)[1],[2],[3],[4]

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If you look at the lists of restrictions on women, it’s quite obvious. I mean just read the text by implication if you’re being mild about it. ‘Thy ox, thy ass, thy wife, thy manservant, thy maidservant’ and so on, right there, you have a wife as property in one of the Ten Commandments.

But then also in terms of what is considered appropriate dress for women, as if society at large has a say in how a woman should dress, right?

Langseth: Yes, I couldn’t understand that before. Why are the men allowed to control women’s bodies? It’s because of religion. A woman is supposed to be subservient and submissive to their husbands. That’s what religion taught them.

2. Jacobsen: And my fear, even within my own generation, the Millennial, the women coming out of these traditions with very comprehensive worldviews in practice, in theory, in perspective.

Even if coming now to the label of secular or free thinker and so on, will harbour the same self-doubt and idea, that they are to be of service to the men in their lives, especially in intimate settings such as probably one of the most important decisions a person can make in their life, their partner, their marriage partner or spouse. 

This stuff takes a long time to decode and unwind.

Langseth: Yes, it will take centuries, maybe. But it’s happening now. I don’t think I can see it in my lifetime, but if you promote humanism with me and all of us promoting this, that we are all equal.

There are human rights and all of these humanistic values and ethical values, the next generation, maybe not yours, will be a lot better. But we’ll never know.

3. Jacobsen: Are there any topics that you would like to explore?

Langseth: I’m excited about this Humanist party. If we have humanist constituents in the Philippines, we will be known better. They will see us better even if we lose the first few years. This is where my excitement is coming from right now, to be honest with you.

4. Jacobsen: What are some of its policies and platform recommendations?

Langseth: It’s all about human rights, LGBT rights, and women’s rights. Of course, there is democracy in the Philippines, but now it’s becoming a dictatorship by Duterte. We’re more about the promotion of reason and critical thinking like we are educating our children.

If each person in the Philippines is a critical thinker and will not even mention religion, we are better off. And of course, the Churches will close down because nobody will go there anymore. Everybody will go to the library.

This is why we have libraries. I have a library in my house in the Philippines for HAPI. But I’m excited that if this will push through, there will be more awareness in the Philippines of our humanist constituencies.

Not even popularity, it will open a lot of minds and this platform will become bigger. It will become bigger than what we have now and they will no longer be afraid to come out. This is what I’m hoping for.

5. Jacobsen: So, is it a process of normalization of humanism and ordinary humanists?

Langseth: Yes, something like that. But I hope this will push through; we have a plan already. Because as law if we are always under the radar, if we are hiding all the time, like our HAPI Con, it was small.

Few people knew about it. Even if they knew, they were afraid to attend because they think it’s a sin to be a humanist or to get out of their religion. And if we have a party and it’s open, out in the open, people will become bolder to come out. And I am sure one of these days, this will happen. The first few Years we will lose but that’s fine. We will win eventually.

6. Jacobsen: In America, there is a lot of demonization of the humanist population, the non-believer population in general.

Langseth: Yes, in general, in fact, I have met a candidate somewhere in the South. He became my friend. He is running not as a congressman, but in the municipal elections or something like this.

He said he is an atheist, but he cannot tell them he is an atheist. He said he told everyone he’s a humanist. And when you ask what is a humanist, it’s like a vague explanation.

7. Jacobsen: Yes, it’s like when you’re talking to the kids. It’s like the “human-” and the “-ism,” thinking, “I believe in people.” Another thinking, “Oh, I believe in people too.” That’s exactly what it is.

Langseth: Yes, something like that [Laughing]. Because he’s afraid that he will not win if he comes out as an atheist. This is pervasive.

Jacobsen: Yes, it’s the same in America. Statistically, there has to be a lot of atheists in political office.

Langseth: I’m sure.

8. Jacobsen: I’ve been in contact with one politician. It’s a woman. She’s an atheist. And she did an invocation. It was an irreligious statement of ‘let’s all get together and be together.’

A latter middle age, white, overweight Southern accented man got up and made the statement that the policy says that this is going to be an opening prayer to a God – emphasis on God – and he then began his opening prayer to overturn the invocation by stating that ‘God, we ask your forgiveness for our pride, et cetera.’

It was passive aggressive. I thought he was a prima donna about it. In America, the main activists for women’s reproductive rights in light of the Trump administration like, for instance, the Global Gag order, have been women.

Because it more directly impacts them. Women seem more acutely aware of it. My hope is that at least in the non-belief sector of America that people won’t have to be so closeted. That it will be a dual-gender phenomenon, I hope.

Langseth: Yes, it’s like cats. Herding cats is a daunting task. I said that to myself a long time ago in 2011 when I made PATAS. But if we have loud voices, it will become louder even if we are cats.

That’s what I’m saying. If you’re standing for what is good, even if we are cats and we become more vocal, they can hear us. Maybe, they will hear us. I have some successes because I am vocal.

In 2010, we had a high school reunion in Cebu, Philippines. I told them, “I am an atheist. I do not like prayers. I will not tolerate any prayers in front of me.” True enough, I got my wish. There were no prayers. Only flag raising and singing of our national anthem.

There were no prayers. Ask me why.

Jacobsen: Why?

Langseth: Because I paid, mostly [Laughing]. Which means that you are powerful when having knowledge plus money. If you can afford it, right? Look at that, I spent 2,000 dollars on that reunion in 2010. My husband was even with me.

There were no prayers because I told them there are no prayers, I don’t believe in prayers. And that’s a high school reunion. 80% of my classmates; they’re still religious. But they respected my wishes because I’m the one paying for the thing.

So, that you are powerful when you have the means. I would not be able to do this thing if I didn’t have the means. Look at PATAS, when it was launched, the launch was in an open space. We call it Lunetta Park, which is in Manila.

What they did was they went to Lunetta Park with a banner saying, “Philippines Atheist and Agnostic Society,” PATAS in short. We had books because I sent them a lot of books. Richard Dawkins books and Hitchens’ books and Sagan’s books, a lot of lovely books that are not religious.

Because you cannot find these books in Manila, in the Philippines. I told them I could not sleep when they launched when they had that launching in Lunetta Park because I was afraid they would get killed.

Jacobsen: That is a legitimate fear for many people, so many non-believers.

Langseth: Would you believe nobody got killed?

Jacobsen: I will happily believe that.

Langseth: I sent them a lot of funding for their dinner and for their nice things so they’ll stay there for a while. They said, of course, a lot of people asked them what is atheism? What is that? What is that all about? Because a lot of people in the Philippines are ignorant about atheism and about Humanism.

9. Jacobsen: And why is that? Because some pastors, preachers, and priests are telling emotionally potent lies about the character and inherent nature of people who do not believe in their doctrines.

Langseth: Right, these charlatans are everywhere.

Jacobsen: Yes, a man in a dress getting mad at transgenders or trans people.

Langseth: Yes, and in fact, I always get into debates online because I am vocal. We had one of the earlier debate forums. It was “Is there a God or not?” And I was one of the admins.

This was before I made PATAS. My goodness, Filipinos were killing me online. “You’re a devil woman,” “you’re a bride of Satan,” “you’re a whore,” and so on. It was based on “Why are you doing this?” And some of them are my friends.

At least 1/3rd of my friends unfriended me.

10. Jacobsen: That’s the thing. It’s social suicide to reject the dominant culture, the dominant mythology in a lot of cases.

Langseth: Right, and of course, when someone in our forum says, “I lost my friends because of this. I say that’s not new to me. I lost about 1/3rd of them. And some of them are close to me. Some of them are in New York City.”

Jacobsen: Do you ever run into them?

Langseth: Yes, they blocked me.

11. Jacobsen: It’s not only social ostracism from a secular point of view, but it’s probably from their point of view preventing Satan from entering their lives? Not necessarily you, but the influence of the dark one?

Langseth: [Laughing] My God, I’ll tell you something. I recently reconnected with a co-worker in the Philippines. His name is Bello. You reminded me of this. When I reconnected with him, he read about me in my information.

So, he read that I made this and did that. He said, “You are the anti-Christ.” Because according to his religion, there is an anti-Christ coming from America. And he said that must be me!

Jacobsen: Of course, not only are you the anti-Christ, but the anti-Christ coming from America; of course, Jesus Christ is coming from toast.

Langseth: [Laughing] coming from toast! And this man, I knew him personally because we used to work together! It’s funny; he believed I am the anti-Christ from America. He even blocked me.

He sent me a threatening note before he blocked me. Before that, we were debating too. He was debating me. Of course, he cannot reconvert me. Because he can’t reconvert me, he blocked me. He mentioned that his church knows about me now.

They’re following me already [Laughing]. I was laughing.

Jacobsen: I’m hearing the Jaws terror music when they’re following you.

Langseth: Yes! This man, I knew him from before. It’s so ironic because this man is not even clean as a person. He loves women. He’s married, but he likes women. He flirts with a lot of women. Now, he’s telling me that I am the bad one. That I am the evil one.


  1. Angeles, M. (2012, August 20). World Trade Center ‘cross’ causes religious dispute among Fil-Ams. Retrieved from
  2. Atheist Republic. (2014, September 10). Marissa Torres Langseth: Freethinking groups can achieve a common goal. Retrieved from
  3. Comelab, M. (2012, May 26). Filipino Atheists Becoming More Active. Retrieved from
  4. Duke, B. (2011, April 28). The Pope’s gonna have a cow. Catholic Philippines gains its first atheist society. Retrieved from
  5. French, M. (2017, March 5). The New Atheists of the Philippines. Retrieved from
  6. Langseth, M.T. (2011, June 1). Atheism in the Philippines: A Personal Story. Retrieved from
  8. Langseth, M.T. (2013, March 20). Kwentong Kapuso: Registered nurses and the alphabet soup of nursing. Retrieved from
  9. Meyer, E. (2017, March 7). Atheist missionaries are spreading humanist ideals in the Philippines. Retrieved from
  10. Universal Life Church Monstery. (2017, March 27). Filipino Atheists Pulling from the Christian Missionary Playbook. Retrieved from

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, PATAS; Founder, HAPI.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 22, 2018 at; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2018 at

[3] Post-Master’s degree, Certificate for Adult Nurse Practitioner with prescriptive privileges – College of Mount Saint Vincent, NY, USA; M.S.N., Adult Health, CUNY, NYC, USA; B.S.N., University of San Carlos, Cebu, Philippines.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Marissa Torres Langseth.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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